Sly Fox Brewery, PA wins Gold for Pikeland Pils in a CAN at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the German-Style Pilsener category
This is huge news for the Craft Brewing Industry and goes a long way to dispelling myths about tinny tasting canned craft brew. It is the first gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for craft beer in a can – and more importantly as Brian O’Reilly, Head Brewer, points out, “It’s a pilsener – the most populous category with forty seven entrants – so we were competing against the Coors, Millers, and Heineken’s of the world.
Plus this flavor profile of the beer is the one people are most concerned about getting “that tinny taste” in when they drink from a can. Obviously the 107 beer judges at the GABF missed any hint of that.
Also, more amazingly, Sly Fox literally grabbed a six pack of beer off the pallet of a customer’s order to get it out to the GABF in a last minute decision. No brewing up a special batch with tender loving care as many brewers do for this competition – just the same premium stuff they ship to all the beer stores.
Sly Fox starting canning beer in March 2006. They now have four labels in cans: Pikeland Pils, Phoenix Pale Ale, Dunkel Lager and Royal Weisse. Brian O’Reilly explains why they chose to go against the norm and get into canning:
First of all, we like the package. It’s convenient. It takes up less space. Cans have the benefit of chilling down quicker and they don’t allow any light to touch the beer, so consumers never get “skunked” beer from a reaction of the alpha acids in the hops to changing light from the sun or artificial sources. Those are great arguments for cans.
Secondly, canning is a bit more cost-effective for us. For a fraction of what it would have cost-maybe as low as one-fifth-we can achieve the same results in the can as we would have by spending much more for a standard bottling line. Plus the equipment is kind of ingenious. These guys [Cask Brewing Systems, Inc. of Alberta, Canada] designed a machine that produces very, very low dissolved oxygen in the finished product, which is important for shelf life. And it’s a pretty efficient machine, turning out 30 cans a minute when everything is going smoothly.”
Well it appears that the Great American Beer Festival judges agreed with Brian’s arguments around quality! To read more about Sly Fox’s beer canning journey, you can go to their website www.slyfoxbeer.com and check out their news section.
Cask Brewing Systems offers affordable canning solutions for the craft brewing industry and small scale packagers worldwide. Click here to see a demonstration of our automated system or to learn about all of the benefits of canning.
If you would like to begin your own affordable canning journey, please contact us for more information.